Monday, April 9, 2012

Seasons in the Sun

Warning:  This is a melancholy posting.  It's Sunday night, and for some reason, Sunday nights are conducive to sadness.

Note:  I wrote this 2 Sundays ago. Don't know why it took so long to get this one out of the can.

I've had time lately to reflect on my relationship with friends.  Having no friends in the St. Louis area, I'm holding on to far away friends with a death grip.  But I know there are "seasons" to friendships too.  People flow in and out of your life - sometimes for good reason, sometimes not.

I was once friends with a woman who had kids the same age as mine.  We met when our boys were in a park district soccer class for 3 year olds.  We recognized each other from the Lamaze class we attended while pregnant.  (We both thought we were the only normal couples in the whole class.)  For a time, we were thick as thieves.  We either talked on the phone or did something together every day.  We joked about being widows in rocking chairs, sitting together outside our nursing home, making the same snarky comments we did when we were in our 30's.  But alas, that will never come to pass.  She "left me" for another friend.  Apparently, this person could only be close to one person at a time.  I have verification of this from the friend for whom I was abandoned.  The same thing happened to her a year later.

I was so close with one girl in high school that people mistook us for sisters.  We spent most waking hours together.  We went on each other's family vacations.  Her dad was the absolute best water ski tower ever.  He taught me to ski one day, and I was on a slalom ski the next.  He had a habit of wearing nothing but shorts and cowboy boots on camping trips - which was hysterical because of his beer gut. Her family lived off of a major highway, so whenever there was a hint of a snowstorm, I hightailed it over there.  She could get out and do things, where a snow storm meant nothing but hunkering down and riding it out for me at home.  She went to one college, I went to another.  Something major happened after that, because she accused her father of inappropriate behavior during her years at home - years that I was more than witness to - and she claimed that I was a victim as well as many of our other friends.  All of us have denied any such behavior.  I confronted her about it, stating that nothing but good times ever happened with her dad and her family.  It fell on deaf ears and now sadly, her parents are gone.  But I'm glad that I  reconnected with her parents, and they knew how much I loved them.  They were my second set of parents while growing up and will remain that way.

Scean and Rhonda.  Wow.  Where do I start?  We met them when our kids were very little.  We fell into a lovely, comfortable routine, where we would play cards most Saturday nights and let the kids play and watch movies together.  It was what I like to call "easy fun"- being with people that you can completely be yourself around, "warts and all" as they say.  But we moved away and Scean left this earth much too early.  I will always cherish those days.  Especially Scean singing  the Jewel song - "Who will Save Your Soul"  It was amusing, to say the least.  We've reconnected with Rhonda and Katelynn, their oldest, comes down to see us once in a while.

Out of the circle of friends I had from first grade through high school, I communicate with Sally through Facebook and talk to Lori every 6 months or so on the phone.  Lori doubles as my sole college friend too.

I met wonderful ladies when we lived in the Chicago suburbs.  Even though we now live in 3 different states, we still get together roughly once a year.  We talk for hours, eat good food and drink good wine.  We take in enough of each other to last for another year.  There used to be 4 of us, but Kelly decided to quit the group.  We still wonder what happened that made her abruptly stop all communication with us.  We all parted from one of our fabulous weekends on good terms.  For years her husband was included in John's annual golf weekend (long after she quit us), but he hasn't answered any emails concerning this summer's event.  I find it very odd when people just stop all forms of communication.  It hurts, because it cheapens the relationship you had with them - it makes you feel almost conned in a way.  You really liked them and thought you were great friends, but apparently you didn't mean that much to them or they wouldn't have dumped you.

I hope the friends I made while living in central Illinois will stay close.  I raised kids with them, volunteered at church and school with them, was a Girl Scout leader with them, worked with them, took vacations with them, had countless cook-outs with them and so on.  Now, I'm counting on quality, not quantity time to keep those friendships afloat, and hoping they feel the same.

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